Corruption, transparency, and accountability

by | Mar 14, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I am against corruption. I am for transparency and accountability. At least that is what I say. On the other hand, my actions don’t entirely back up my words. Why else would I fear being audited by the IRS? You see, even though I keep good records of my personal financial transactions and strive to honestly disclose everything required by the IRS, I am weak in keeping track of receipts and other back-up documentation. I fear that if I am audited that I will be in trouble because I will not be able to adequately defend what I reported in my tax return. I have been through dozens of corporate audits. I know that it is critical to have back-up documentation. I hope I am not audited and, if I am, I hope I will be able to find all the back-up documentation required.

Corruption, transparency, accountability. These are often used words when talking about businesses, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations. In the US, it appears that everyone agrees that corruption should be eliminated and that we need increased transparency and accountability. Actually, it appears that we all think this is a good idea for everyone else. When it comes to our own situation, we are less committed to these ideals. Apparently many of us believe it is okay for us to cheat, but everyone else should follow the rules. Why else would these issues be so hot?

Unfortunately, in much of the developing world there is less agreement regarding accountability and transparency. Leaders in Africa, the Mid-East, and various parts of Asia have told me that the social expectation in their parts of the world is that financial information is to be protected. People and organizations do not share financial information. It is considered improper to do so. The leaders I am talking with believe this expectation needs to change and they are coming to Anda Leadership for help.

Today I spent an hour talking with a friend in Jordan. He wants us to help ministries and Christian led businesses in his part of the world better manage their money. He would like us to start with a theological basis for transparency and then help organizations take baby steps to become more accountable with better financial management. This is exactly what we would like to do. By God’s grace, it will happen.

However, what about corruption in my life? As I confessed above, I am not perfect in this. I pray that I will not be like the man who points out a speck in his friend’s eye while ignoring a plank in his own eye.


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